Monday, December 30, 2019

10 Best 2020 Silent Retreats | USA | From Los Angeles To New York

The Best U.S. Silent Retreats To Catch In 2020, From Coast To Coast 

By Sofija Sunflower

The challenges of daily life, no matter how big or small, are bound to create a TV-static like noise in our heads, and as the off button gets more difficult to find, even the simplest, most vital activities become bothersome. Eating well, sleeping well, most of all, breathing well, seem to be oh so paradoxically unavailable luxuries, in our fast-paced consumerist world. It is deeply alienating, being constantly surrounded by abundance of everything, yet devoid of the purest pleasures that are calmly hiding in the silence.

All of this is especially true when living in a metropolis. By the time we are done with traffic jams, demanding bosses and teachers, crowds and the burdens of bureaucracy, we have come home filled with everything but peace. Carried away with frustrations, we often fall into the trap of taking them out on other people, or our own selves.

Instead of mistreating ourselves and others (and finding silence only in silent treatments during arguments), we need to find more honest and genuine ways to release and reexamine our thoughts and feelings. We need to seek those better ways, actively, yet without treating that process as a task, but a rewarding journey in and of itself.

Meditation, as intimidating as it sounds to beginners, truly does wonders with patience and discipline. In fact, it teaches you those very skills.  And if meditation was an adjective, silent retreat would be a superlative of it. Worry not, as challenging as it sounds, building healthy life habits is not something to shy away from, especially considering the fact that the beginnings are ,without doubt, always the hardest parts.

The list we've compiled consists of upcoming events, close to some of the biggest and most densely populated cities. And although these retreats all have silence in common, along with beautiful scenery and vegetarian (and vegan) diets, what sets them apart is those different approaches to the core subjects of peace and calamity, and the awareness that can then finally thrive under those circumstances. With those different approaches and traditions comes a variety of activities these centers offer, some physical, some creative, all of them mindful.

2020 West Coast Silent Retreats 

Ananda Meditation Retreat -
When: January 29 - February 2, 2020
Where: 18443 MacNab Cypress Road, Nevada City, CA
Teacher: Nayaswami Nitai Deranja, Nayaswami Anandi Gray, Nayaswami Susan Mcginnis
Starting at $250
Nearest large cities: San Francisco (160 miles), Los Angeles (450 miles)

Group Relations International Silent Retreat -
When: February 12-18, 2020
Where: Commonweal, 451 Mesa Road, Bolinas, CA
Teacher: René Molenkamp
Starting at $1100
Nearest large cities: San Francisco (30 miles), Los Angeles (400 miles)

Silent Retreat Vision Quest -
When: May 28 – Jun 1, 2020
Where: Parsons Landing, Avalon, CA
Teacher: Sada Simran & Maria Dimakos
Starting at $1000
Nearest large cities: Los Angeles (30 miles)

Rest in Simplicity -
When: May 2-8, 2020
Where: 1000 Sugarpine Road, Big Bear City, CA
Teacher: Dawn Scott, Celeste Young
Starting at $660
Nearest large cities: Los Angeles (30 miles)

Aldermarsh Retreat Center -
When: March 6-8, 2020
Where: 6436 Maxwelton Rd, Clinton, WA
Teacher: Liz Gross, Roy Holman
Starting at $425
Nearest large cities: Seattle (30 miles), Portland (200 miles)

Training in Tranquil Abiding -
When: January 23-25, 2020
Where: 6556 24th Avenue Northwest, Seattle, WA
Teacher: Gen Khedrub
Starting at $0-$60
Nearest large cities: Seattle (4 miles)

2020 East Coast Silent Retreats 

9-Day Intensive Chan Retreat -
Cultivating peace and clarity of mind through Chan practice.
When: February 7-15, 2020
Where: 184 Quannacut Road, Pine Bush, NY
Teacher: Abbot Guo Yuan
Starting at $675
Nearest large cities: New York (70 miles)

Greater Boston Zen Sesshin -
When: March 27-29, 2020
Where: 552 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Teacher: Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi, Doug Philips, and Mary Gates
Starting at $120
Nearest large cities: Boston (2 miles)

Spring Meditation Retreat -
When: March 15-21, 2020 or March 15-18, 2020
Where:  Zen Life & Meditation Center, 46 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL
Teacher: June Tanoue
Starting at $175
Nearest large cities: Chicago (8 miles)

The art of living -
When: Twice a month, every month
Where: 639 Whispering Hills Rd, Boone, NC
Teacher: Ajeet Kaur, Aadil Palkhivala, Alexandria Crow
Starting at $895
Nearest large cities: Charlotte (90 miles), Atlanta (280 miles), Nashville (340 miles)

Depending on your location and personal beliefs about different teachings, you may find just what you’re looking for. It is worth mentioning that no religious affiliation is any way necessary for any of these retreats. The most important lessons are the simplest ones, and they can be taught and learned by anyone, because they indeed are for everyone, as they should be.

Whatever you decide on, you will be taught by experienced people, and surrounded by beautiful  scenery and many different, yet like minded individuals, who have also decided to improve themselves by being more present and aware. And as we improve ourselves, we improve the world, just as the once challenging concepts become deeply fulfilling daily habits.

About the author - Sofija Sunflower

Sofija is a sociologist in Montenegro, as well as a poet, artist, and writer. She speaks English, Spanish, Serbian, Korean, and French.

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